The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to physics just ended. We had a great week of vivid discussions between 39 Nobel Laureates and 580 young scientists from 89 countries most of them Physicists but not only.
The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) has sent 6 candidates to the 69th . The candidates were selected among the candidates for the Prix Schläfli 2019. Among the Swiss candidates, Vivien Bonvin (EPFL) had the chance to participate to the Lindau Meeting, dedicated to dark matter, cosmology, laser physics and gravitational waves. The Lindau meetings pride themselves in fostering inter-disciplinary exchanges, thus he had the great pleasure to exchange with participants coming from a very broad range of research fields - from fundamental and theoretical physics to applied biology. It was in such exchanges that they realized how diversified their research and work environment can be, but also how they faced the same questions, notably how could their research have a positive impact on society or what shall they expect from pursuing a career in academia.
This week had of course numerous highlights, and for Vivien the two best were:
He had the chance to interview Adam Riess, one of the Nobel Laureates of 2011 for discovering the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Riess was now working on quantifying the current expansion rate of the Universe, also called the Hubble constant, using a technique based on direct observation of exploding stars (technically called type-Ia supernovae). The work of Vivien focused on measuring the same quantity, albeit using a completely independent technique. Obviously, they went along well and had much to share.
He was also selected by Brian Schmidt, another of the Nobel Laureates of 2011, to present his work during a Master class conducted by Schmidt. This consisted of a 10min presentation of his work in front of selected participants of the conference, followed by an open question-and-answer session with the audience.
Participating to the Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting was a once in a lifetime opportunity (unless one wins a Nobel Prize, that is), so Vivien was sadly not eligible anymore to participate. He would however strongly encourage anyone interested in exchanging ideas to apply, either through their national academy of science or even directly. The 69th edition is over only since a few days, but looking back at it he already realized taking part to it would be one of the highlights of his scientific career.
Authors: Vivien Bonvin (EPFL) & Anne Jacob (SCNAT)